5) Mrs. Smith’s from The Ultimate Packaged Pumpkin Pie Taste Test (Slideshow)

The Ultimate Packaged Pumpkin Pie Taste Test (Slideshow)

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Jane Bruce

5) Mrs. Smith’s

A near-universal least favorite, this pie had a decent crust, but that’s where the positives stopped. It had a strangely gelatinous texture (most likely from the addition of thickeners like modified food starch and carob bean gum), and an odd flavor that reminded a couple of tasters of window cleaner. The familiar spices also weren’t nearly pronounced enough, leading one taster to note that "it tastes nothing like pumpkin pie."

Price: $6.99
Pie Size: 27 ounces
Serving Size: 4.5 ounces
Calories: 290
Fat: 14 grams
Cholesterol: 40 milligrams
Carbohydrates: 36 grams
Sugar: 18 grams

Jane Bruce

4) Trader Joe’s

The flaky crust was also the best part of this pie, which had a consistency much closer to pudding. One taster compared the soggy filling to raw gingerbread dough, and overall it was unbalanced and very heavy-handed on the nutmeg. Fans of pumpkin pie spices who can get past the consistency might like this, though, because the flavors are quite strong. This pie is sweetened with real sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup, which is a nice touch.

Price: $4.99
Pie Size: 21 ounces
Serving Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories: 290
Fat: 19 grams
Cholesterol: 70 milligrams
Carbohydrates: 28 grams
Sugar: 16 grams

Jane Bruce

3) Whole Foods Gluten-Free

Our tasters didn’t know that this pie was gluten-free, but it performed relatively well. The crust was light and pastry-like (rice, tapioca, corn, and potato flours are used instead of wheat flour), but fell apart a little too easily, was gritty, and was lacking in flavor. As for the filling, it had a nice consistency, but the sugar-to-spice balance was a little off. As a gluten-free dessert option, however, this is a very respectable (if expensive) way to go. The all-natural ingredients are also nice to see.

Price: $13.99
Pie Size: 24 ounces
Serving Size: 3 ounces
Calories: 220
Fat: 9 grams
Cholesterol: 70 milligrams
Carbohydrates: 30 grams
Sugar: 11 grams

Jane Bruce

2) Sara Lee

Sara Lee’s offering was good, but not good enough to take first place. It was certainly attractive to look at, but it left our testers torn. The crust was crumbly without being sandy, but got a bit too soggy on the bottom. The texture was quite gelatinous, as well as very creamy and pudding-like. As for flavor, one taster said it tasted just like a pumpkin spice latte, which means they most likely got the spice balance right, and you could also taste the real pumpkin used in it.

Price: $6.29
Pie Size: 37 ounces
Serving Size: 4.6 ounces
Calories: 270
Fat: 10 grams
Cholesterol: 40 milligrams
Carbohydrates: 41 grams
Sugar: 23 grams

Jane Bruce

1) Marie Callender’s

As far as pumpkin pies go, this one tasted just about perfect. The crust was stable, flaky, and held up to the pie nicely, and the filling had that "pumpkin" texture that you look for, without being gloopy or gelatinous. You could really taste the pumpkin, and the sugar and spice blend was well-balanced to hit that pumpkin pie spot. More than one taster agreed that it tasted homemade, and in fact the ingredients, which include real sugar, can all be found in your average pantry. At 36 ounces, it was also big enough for a group, and was the lowest in fat and cholesterol (if the highest in sugar). We’d be perfectly OK with serving this one on our Thanksgiving table; in fact, we just might.

Price: $9.49
Pie Size: 36 ounces
Serving Size: 4.5 ounces
Calories: 270
Fat: 6 grams
Cholesterol: 35 milligrams
Carbohydrates: 48 grams
Sugar: 32 grams

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The Ultimate Packaged Pumpkin Pie Taste Test (Slideshow)